The Tragedy Of Addiction In Australia

Addiction in Australia is one of the country’s greatest problems. Millions of Australians and their families are currently struggling with a range of substance use disorders (SUD), the majority of which go untreated. Despite the challenges, there are a variety of rehab options available that can get Australians started on the road to recovery.

Alcohol: Australia’s Greatest Danger

Nearly 6,000 people die from alcohol-related diseases every year in Australia. That is one person every 90 minutes. Possibly due to its legality, many overlook how dangerous alcohol can be to their health. However, the consequences that come with consuming alcohol can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs.

Whether it is because of its judgment-impairing effects or the strain it puts on the human body, alcohol can be one of the most dangerous substances in the world. Yet drinking culture and the popularization of binge drinking have turned alcohol consumption into something that is not just legally and culturally accepted, but popular as well. Many movies, TV shows, and celebrities depict drinking as something that is cool, fun, and life-fulfilling; it actually has the opposite effect. Binge drinking, defined in Australia as 6 drinks in 2 hours for men or 4 drinks in 2 hours women, can lead to lifelong dependence.

In Australia, determined to be the 20th drunkest nation by the World Health Organization, 30% of fatal car crashes are due to someone driving while under the influence of alcohol. By comparison, Russia is ranked 4th and alcohol only ties into 9% of fatal car crashes.

11.2

litres

The World Health Organization determined that Australians were consuming 11.2 litres of pure alcohol per person a year.

400

hospitalizations

There was an average of 400 alcohol-related hospitalizations a day from 2012 to 2013 in Australia. That comes out to 146,000 a year.

5,785

deaths

In 2015, there were a total number of 5,785 deaths from alcohol-related diseases. This follows the trend of roughly 6,000 deaths every year.

The Most Abused Drugs In Australia

After Marijuana, Australia’s most abused drugs are Ecstasy, Hallucinogens, and Amphetamines.  The most popular, Ecstasy, has been used by 11.2% of Australians over the age of 14. That is close to 3,000,000 people and doesn’t include the use of Hallucinogens, 9.4%, or Amphetamines, 6.3%. While there may be some overlap, people who use one of these drugs look for a specific effect that the others don’t have. It is more likely that these numbers represent individuals. That means that the number of people in Australia who are suffering from some form of dependency is likely well over 4,000,000.

Death By Addiction In Australia

Many don’t imagine the downside to abuse. They believe that addiction is something that can be avoided. However, it isn’t a question of willpower. Addiction is a biological response in the body. In some cases, that means only one use of the drug will cause the body to crave more of it.

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Prescription Opioid Addiction In Australia

As of 2017, doctors in Australia were cumulatively writing 14,000,000 prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers every year. While this may not seem dangerous, 1 in 10 who are prescribed an Opioid becomes addicted to their prescription. That means there are potentially 1,400,000 people across Australia who are battling an addiction that came from a genuine need for pain relief. Realistically, there are some out there who are doctor-shopping; doctor-shopping is the act of obtaining multiple prescriptions from different doctors in order to sell or abuse the drug.

The rampant Opioid problem that is sweeping multiple countries is hitting Australia hard. In fact, 69% of drug-related deaths in 2015, a total of 1,395, were due to a prescription drug. Similarly to alcohol, people underestimate the dangerous potential of prescription medications. Many think that because it is meant for medicinal use that it is safe. However, most addictions of illegal Opioids start from a prescription that someone can no longer attain from a doctor.

2,023

deaths

In total, there were 2,023 deaths by drugs in Australia in 2015.

69

percent

69% of drug-related deaths in Australia are due to prescription drugs.

10

percent

10% of Australians who are prescribed an Opioid Painkiller will become addicted.

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Suffering From Addiction In Australia

When you live in an environment that is full of temptation, it can be helpful remove yourself from it when seeking treatment. This is easier said than done, however. Drug addiction is a biological issue. While there is a psychological component to get over addiction that therapy can assist with, people who suffer from addiction must consider that their body has now rewired itself to crave the drug. Without taking a medical approach to recovering from addiction, the person suffering will have a harder time and be much more likely to relapse.

If you are suffering from addiction in Australia, there are programs that can help you recover. However, you might need something more that you cannot find or a radical change in environment. If you don’t know where to look or have questions, contact a treatment provider. They can answer any questions and discuss available treatment options.

Published:

Author

Cooper Smith

Photo of Cooper Smith
  • Cooper Smith earned his Bachelor’s in Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University. While he was initially interested in a career in television, he saw an issue in his community and felt compelled to do something more. Now, he uses his knowledge to reach out to people who may need help and make the public aware of issues we are facing as a society. When he isn’t behind a computer, Cooper travels somewhere new.

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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:

David Hampton

Photo of David Hampton
  • A survivor of addiction himself, David Hampton is a Certified Professional Recovery Coach (CPRC) and a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).

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Sources